Gout is a form of arthritis that is inflammatory and caused by high uric acid levels in the blood. This is an incredibly painful condition that causes needle-like pain in joints, as well as tenderness, swelling, and redness. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about four percent of Americans have gout today – approximately two million women and six million men.
There are several different stages of gout, including asymptomatic periods, acute attacks, and intervals between attacks. There are certain triggers for gout, such as eating red meat, drinking alcohol and soda, and being overweight. Certain medical conditions, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, can increase one’s risk for gout as well. If your uric acid levels stay high for a long time, you may have chronic gout, which can lead to severe joint damage if not diagnosed and treated properly.
The symptoms of intense joint pain and lingering discomfort often occur without warning in the middle of the night. Anti-inflammatory medications are sometimes prescribed for gout symptoms; however, there are other natural ways fight the pain and swelling as well. Here are a few natural approaches to managing gout in daily life.
1. Elevate and Ice the Painful Joint
Joint pain is the most common symptom of gout; however, medications to soothe joint pain often come with side effects that impact other parts of the body. Before popping pills, try to elevate and apply ice to the affected joint to see if that helps.
2. Reduce Stress in Daily Life
Stress doesn’t necessarily cause gout, but it sure can make it a lot worse. Go for long walks, talk out your problems with someone you trust, or try meditating to deal with stress in healthy and productive ways.
3. Adjust Your Diet
There are various foods that make gout attacks more painful and frequent, so it’s important to understand which foods are the biggest culprits. Cut sugar and alcohol out of your diet, and steer clear of non-organic meats that were pumped with antibiotics and hormones.
These are some of the healthy foods that should be part of a gout sufferer’s diet:
4. Sip Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a common household ingredient that you find in many home remedies, and it has also shown to be effective for gout. It makes the body more alkaline and may even help to reduce pain. You can try sipping it straight, or mix a couple tablespoons with a glass of water for a more diluted taste.
5. Mix Baking Soda and Water
Another common home remedy you’re probably already very familiar with is baking soda. This substance is also known to help reduce the amount of uric acid in the body, so it’s a great product to have on-hand if you suffer from gout. Simply mix a teaspoon into a glass of water a few times per day as a regular part of your routine for the best results.
6. Drink Lots of Pure Water
Alcohol, soda, and caffeine are notorious triggers of gout attacks. However, drinking pure water can actually help keep them at bay. This is because water helps to flush uric acid out of the body and prevent the build-ups that cause gout attacks.
7. Exercise More
Exercise seems to be a “cure all” and a preventative tip for pretty much every health condition you can think of, and gout is no exception. Gout is caused by uric acid build-up in the body, and exercise is a great way to naturally reduce uric acid levels. Just 30 minutes of exercise per day can reduce the frequency and intensity of gout flare-ups. Your joints will thank you, and the rest of your body will too.